Prediction for 2017, Number 2

 This one really should have happened this year but long delays in forming governments in Madrid and Barcelona put it back. The traditional bourgeois nationalists in Barcelona have hitched their wagon to the ultra-left and irredentist CUP. The latter are determined to force a decisive break with Madrid in 2017. The idea is to have a referendum on independence and to start setting up the institutions of an independent state. The government in Madrid has already initiated legal measures to stop this. The CUP is betting on a confrontation with the Spanish state involving the imprisonment of Catalan nationalist politicians who disobey the courts, mass demonstrations to secure their liberty and a good deal of public disorder; in the last analysis to expose what they see as the fundamentally oppressive nature of what see as “Spanish rule” in Catalonia. I would not be completely surprised if all this leads to people getting killed. Recall that leaders of the CUP shamelessly describe themselves as “the Kurds of Spain” and the like. Of course there’s no real chance of the push for independence succeeding, the government in Madrid has all the necessary powers and resources to stop it. But things might well get messy this year.

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